Breeder's Notebook

Super Sniffers: The Genetics of Canine Scent

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If you visit the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow, you won’t see the typical German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Malinois, Beagles and Labrador Retrievers sniffing for contraband. Instead, you’ll see dogs that look like small huskies with thick, gray coats, curled tails and an unequaled determination to sniff out trouble.

Called Sulimov Dogs after their creator, Klim Sulimov, they’re the result of a project that began in 1975 as a quest for a better bomb-detection dog. Rather than depend on existing breeds, Sulimov and colleagues at Russia’s DS Likhachev Scientific Research Institute for Cultural Heritage and Environmental Protection set out to create a new super-sniffer from scratch.

They bypassed the obvious choices (Bloodhounds, Beagles and the like) and went to a more primal source: the wild jackal. Anecdotal evidence suggests that jackals are better than wolves or dogs at ferreting out hidden scents. Because jackals aren’t known for their trainability, Sulimov crossed them with more-easily trained, reindeer-herding Russian huskies. Huskies and other northern breeds, Sulimov contended, were ideal for the cross because they developed a superior sense of smell that allows them to detect odors in low temperatures.

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Michael Markman   New York, NY

10/5/2008 4:46:43 AM

Terror Fighting
Dog

At present, there are 25 Sulimov dogs at work in the national
airport
in Moscow. There are reportedly only about 40 of the animals
in
existence, most at work in the Russian airport, and the rest
dedicated
to forensic criminology work. The Sulimov dog is highly regarded as
a
detection animal, able to extraordinary finds due to its sense
of
smell, and able to enter small spaces and corners owing to its
size.
It also has a distinctive way of indicating a 'positive'
detection:
it's curled tail - owing to it's husky lineage - droops and
goes
slack.

But don't expect to see these incredible genetic creations in the
West
any time soon. The Sulimov dog is essentially considered a
state
secret in Russia, and is prohibited from exportation. The
Russians
may have created the best detection dog on the planet, but like
all
government secrets, they're not willing to share it with the rest
of
the world. The Sulimov dogs are at work protecting the public
in
Russia. Perhaps when they have been recognized as an
established
breed and find widespread acceptance and acclaim in their field
they
will be bred extensively, and be sent to the far corners of the
globe
to do their exceptional work.At present, there are 25 Sulimov dogs at work in the national
airport
in Moscow. There are reportedly only about 40 of the animals
in
existence, most at work in the Russian airport, and the rest
dedicated
to forensic criminology work. The Sulimov dog is highly regarded as
a
detection animal, able to extraordinary finds due to its sense
of
smell, and able to enter small spaces and corners owing to its
size.
It also has a distinctive way of indicating a 'positive'
detection:
it's curled tail - owing to it's husky lineage - droops and
goes
slack.

But don't expect to see these incredible genetic creations in the
West
any time soon. The Sulimov dog is essentially considered a
state
secret in Russia, and is prohibited from exportation. The
Russians
may have created the best detection dog on the planet, but like
all
government secrets, they're not willing to share it with the rest
of
the world. The Sulimov dogs are at work protecting the public
in
Russia. Perhaps when they have been recognized as an
established
breed and find widespread acceptance and acclaim in their field
they
will be bred extensively, and be sent to the far corners of the
globe
to do their exceptional
work.

http://ru.youtube.com/watch?v=f6Y7pBN7toE

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Michael
Markman
Michael.Markman@Gmail.com
212-300-6269

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